Chorus, which was acquired by ZoomInfo last summer, rolled out a mobile app for its conversational sales service. The app supports core Chorus features on Android and iOS phones. Users can listen to calls, speed them up, and pause them. They can also share key moments with colleagues via Slack, email, and text. Hashtags and @ mentions assist with tagging and sharing.
Managers and trainers can assign listening and provide feedback, which can be reviewed during walks, commutes, or downtime. Users also have access to a library of best practices spanning various topics, including objection handling, pitching to specific verticals, or value discussions.
“With Chorus, reps can review top performers’ recordings on their own schedule,” said Alyson Baber, commercial sales leader at Zoom. “They can also focus on keywords, such as a competitor’s name or pricing information, and go directly to those parts of the discussion instead of having to sit through the entire call.”
Customer Success and Account Teams can review preceding conversations, review conversations before quarterly business reviews, and share the voice of the customer or product feedback with other teams.
B2B data vendor RevenueBase closed a $6 million seed round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Additional investors include 2 Lanterns, Argon Ventures, Converge, Feldsmith Capital, Good Friends, Graph Ventures, Gutbrain Ventures, KOA Labs, PBJ Capital, and Service Provider Capital. The round was oversubscribed as RevenueBase enjoyed significant investor interest.
As part of the round, RevenueBase named three Directors to its Board:
Kent Bennett, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners
Bob Davoli, Founder and Managing Director of GutBrain
Jude McColgan, former CEO of Localytics
RevenueBase launched last spring looking to solve issues in the B2B data market, including difficulty in identifying and engaging with Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) prospects and marketing’s reliance upon spammy demand generation instead of well-targeted messages. RevenueBase trebled its revenue over the past year and expects to do the same this year. It has already onboarded twenty customers, with a focus on selling data as a strategic asset to the CMO or CRO.
RevenueBase was founded by industry veterans Mark Feldman, the VP of Marketing at NetProspex before its acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet, and Milenko Beslic, who built Cheapflights, the travel industry’s first metasearch engine. As a marketing head at Backupify, Motion Recruitment, and Localytics, Feldman became frustrated with B2B data issues, including misalignment with the sales and marketing team’s go-to-market strategy, data decay, difficulty acquiring data, and managing disparate vendors and formats. His stint as a B2B data customer led him to return to the B2B data space and create a product that broadly aggregates company, contact, and custom customer-specific insight data that aligns 1:1 with each customers’ go-to-market strategies.
Custom insights can be any variable that enables targeting of the right businesses. For example,
Does the company offer a mobile app?
Are they a managed service provider?
Do they have a call center?
Do they sell perishable food products?
RevenueBase then builds a custom database for clients that it calls a Revenue Database, which is updated on an ongoing basis.
“We saw a whitespace for a company like RevenueBase, especially given that we’ve seen little real innovation or change in this market over the past decade leading businesspeople to be bombarded with impersonal and poorly targeted messages multiple times a day. This situation has been made worse by ‘The Great Resignation,’ during which so many people have left their positions, and the data hasn’t kept up with those changes. Milenko and I knew that we could build a better solution to make it easier for companies to access more buyers in order to increase revenue. We’re excited to have the support of great investors who are on board with our vision.”
CEO Mark Feldman
RevenueBase will deploy its funds towards building a customer UX and a set of enterprise software integrations for CRMs and MAPs. It is also looking to grow its headcount from twelve to twenty before the end of the year.
“We think the opportunity to be the B2B data refinement layer powering growth-oriented companies is massive,” said Bennett. “We are impressed with RevenueBase’s early traction and Mark’s and Milenko’s appetite to transform the B2B data industry.”
Feldman argues that RevenueBase is distinguished across three dimensions: “completeness of data, data accuracy at scale, and ease.” RevenueBase offers a high-touch, white-glove offering customized to each of its clients. It begins with customer alignment, holding a set of discovery workshops that identify each customer’s “revenue archetype.” RevenueBase then queries its 700 million global contacts database to build tailored databases for its clients.
Revenue Archetypes consist of an ICP, market segmentation, pains addressed, buyer personas, sales showstoppers, and custom insights that enable buyers to be engaged more personally.
“A revenue archetype is a model of what your ideal customer looks like, i.e., one you can derive revenue from,” Feldman explained to GZ Consulting. “It’s where there is a mutual benefit. They need your product/service and will pay a fair price for it. They also will favor you over the competition because your solution will result in the best cost-benefit tradeoff for the customer.“
Conversely, the Revenue Archetype also defines companies that are not good fits such as industries or geographies that require a standard not met by a firm’s offerings (e.g., HIPAA or GDPR requirements). It also identifies roles not involved in purchasing a company’s products or services. These individuals may be too junior in the organization or may not work in functions that use a company’s products or services.
RevenueBase argues that its knowledge graph technology improves the set of discoverable relationships, including the “longtail of customer-specific insights,” stated Feldman. For example, RevenueBase can identify partners, investors, technologies in use, revenue streams, business models, key resources, and modern industries (such as Fintech and SaaS) that do not fall into standard industry classifications.
Conventional firmographics vendors must have a product manager pre-define the company attributes to be collected and then build these definitions into its data collection methodology and structure. Because RevenueBase employs a graph database, it is not subject to these structural limitations and can identify uncommon or industry-specific elements that define the ICP. The data structure also supports multi-point verification and data attribution. In addition, data fields with high probabilities of changing, such as email addresses, job titles, and current employers, are re-verified at least four times per year.
RevenueBase promises to “replace all of your data vendors with one solution” that “reaches every company and decision-maker across the globe that will benefit from your unique offering.” By delivering high-quality, targeted data directly to sales and marketing systems, revenue teams avoid time-consuming sales rep data research and managing databases. Data quality steps include custom research, quarterly email re-verification, and annual phone checks. Data is delivered via a quarterly secure CSV file transfer with a 90% accuracy SLA.
“Zoom IQ for Sales analyzes customer interactions to surface key insights, actions, and content from sales meetings. Sales leaders can also use this data to help make better-informed management decisions regarding their sales teams,” blogged UCaaS Product Marketing Manager Theresa Larkin. “With actionable insights based on proven sales strategies and a wealth of data, organizations can streamline the new sales rep onboarding process, create a modern sales methodology, and further develop their sales teams.”
Zoom describes Zoom IQ for Sales as its “First Step in Conversational Intelligence.” The service is “tightly integrated” with Salesforce, Google Calendar, Office 365, and Exchange. Insights include
Engaging Questions – Analyzes questions posed to determine the frequency with which customers respond to queries.
Longest Spiel – Identifies the longest monologue to help reps hone their pitches and avoid monologues.
Next Steps – Assesses whether clear next steps are outlined during the meeting.
Patience – Determines whether reps wait for a response after asking a question.
Talk-Listen Ratios – Analyzes whether there is a balance between lead speaker talk time and time granted to others.
Competitor and Feature Mentions – Tags competitors and product features so reps, competitive analysts, and product teams can drill into prospect concerns, competitive statements, and potential gaps in the product.
Post-deal analytics include which topics arose most frequently, time spent in each stage, and which negotiators made the final purchasing decision. General Deal analytics include the number of conversations per deal and the duration of conversations per deal.
Zoom IQ supports a video snippets library of best practices exemplars. Snippets can be used for initial training or for reviewing how to handle specific objections, present the value of various products, or position across target verticals.
“Zoom has made strategic investments in homegrown speech recognition technologies and recruited a world-class team to produce high-fidelity transcription services that are a backbone for products like Zoom IQ…We’re developing domain-specific NLU (natural language understanding) using few-shot models to build features that will be more reliable and valuable to our users,” said Josh Dulberger, Zoom’s head of product, data, and AI. “Sales teams…want to focus on the customer, and managing the engagement rather than taking notes, but also so they can review their calls to pick up nuances, easily identify next steps, or solicit some guidance from a colleague. Managers and sales leaders can’t sit in on every call but want to understand the selling climate, when to coach, and which reps are finding the right message.”
TechCrunch Senior Report Kyle Wiggers cautioned buyers about Zoom’s AI capabilities: “The jury’s out on the accuracy of Zoom’s algorithms, particularly given the company’s history of deploying flawed AI. Sentiment analysis algorithms are especially prone to gender and race bias, and not every salesperson will necessarily agree with how Zoom measures engagement.”
“Zoom is almost certainly feeling the pressure from investors to establish new lines of revenue,” continued Wiggers. “While the company’s earnings soared during the pandemic, guidance is down as customers begin to shift to hybrid and in-office work arrangements less reliant on videoconferencing.”
Zoom IQ for Sales is priced at $79 per month per seat.
“Half a million businesses choose Zoom and rely on it for internal and external conversations,” said Dulberger. “The Zoom platform already has a strong foundation in this area with features such as transcription, recordings, and highlights. This also gives us an opportunity to expand this type of functionality across the Zoom platform such as Zoom Contact Center and within our meetings and events solutions to help presenters pace their speech, take notes, capture action items or employ specific tactics.”
Zoom Events, Zoom’s platform for virtual and hybrid shows, is adding a backstage feature that lets panelists, speakers, and production crews meet before, during, and after events. During the session, support staff can view the webinar feed, chat with each other, answer attendees’ questions, and practice their presentations. Zoom Events Backstage should be available by the end of April.
Other new Events features include branded wallpaper that displays behind tiles and webinar reactions.
Last month, Drift rolled out its Conversation Cloud, which combines the capabilities of its Conversational Marketing, Conversational Sales, and newly launched Conversational Service offerings. Drift’s Conversational AI guides visitors along any stage of the customer journey, helping them “voice their intent with open text questions, find answers to their own questions, get personalized recommendations, or book a sales meeting.”
“Everything starts with a conversation, and in-person communication and experiences are taking a back seat to the conversations we have online, especially in our business relationships. Businesses are relying more and more on digital experience platforms – or in our case, conversational experience platforms – to bridge these connections and manage key customer interactions, touchpoints, and engagement. Our guiding philosophy at Drift is to put the buyer at the center of everything we do, and we are excited to bring the Drift Conversation Cloud to market to help our customers deliver a better experience to buyers at each stage of their journey, all while improving their sales teams’ efficiencies and accelerating revenue.”
Drift Conversational Sales manages customer conversations across chat, video, email, and phone. Drift routes high value leads to sales reps, notifying them when qualified leads are engaging with the chatbot or the website. Sales reps can “craft personalized outreach based on what web pages buyers visited, which sales touchpoints they engaged with, and how often they interacted with your brand.” Prospect activity is automatically logged to Salesforce.
Reps can also deliver personalized video messages based on site activity intelligence. Videos may be shared via LinkedIn, Drift, Outreach, or Salesloft. Drift claims a more than 3X improvement in response rates for asynchronous video.
Drift not only schedules meetings but also offers a new Deal Room module for capturing interactions between buyers and sellers, including meeting transcriptions and document sharing. Deal Room also provides real-time alerts when prospects engage with the Deal Room and manages Mutual Action Plans.
“Drift Deal Room enables seamless collaboration between your internal team and entire buyer committees in one central location,” blogged Drift Senior Product Marketing Manager Holly Xiao. “Everyone involved will be able to have conversations, share files, manage action items, schedule meetings, and more — directly in Deal Room.”
Continued Xiao, “Drift Deal Room lets you see who, what, and how buyers interact with your business throughout their entire journey. So, when it’s time for your next deal review, you’ll come to the table with a clear picture of deal activities and trajectory. And if you notice opportunities with lower engagement, you can rely on Drift Video, Drift Chat, Drift Email, and more to help you nurture deals in the right channel at the right time and keep them moving in the right direction.”
Conversational Service answers simple support questions, allowing the service team to focus on difficult support problems and high-priority customers. The Drift Chatbot supports Salesforce and Zendesk knowledge base articles. Conversational Service lets customers create their own support tickets or hand high-priority requests over to live service reps.
“Translating click-based engagement into buyer-led enablement across interactions requires conversation design that senses and responds to spoken and unspoken buyer needs across complex and connected buying journeys, wrote Forrester Principal Analyst Jessie Johnson last November. “Conversational interactions help B2B organizations meet buyers where they are in their journey, enable their buyers and customers in the moment, and inform the next interaction. The impact of poor execution, however, can have a lasting negative impact on the buying journey, customer experience, and even the brand itself.”
Technology Intelligence vendor HG Insights acquired fellow data vendor Intricately. The acquisition provides HG Insights with global cloud product adoption, usage, and spend data, “adding to HG’s market-leading optimization of the world’s top technology brands’ Go-To-Market.”
The entire Intricately team has joined HG Insights, including CEO Michael Pollack and CTO Fima Leshinsky. Pollack assumed the role of EVP of Market Innovation, and Leshinsky was named an SVP of Product.
“We started Intricately to provide decision-makers with actionable data and insights they could use to plot a course through the ever-expanding Cloud universe. At the time, we saw a world with individuals relying on gut instincts, teams making ‘best guesses,’ and organizations making big bets on circumspect data. We started this business with the goal of making the unknown known. Our vision was, and has always been, to be the authoritative source of truth for digital product adoption, usage, and spend.”
Intricately Founders Fima Leshinsky and Michael Pollack
Intricately’s proprietary sensor network gathers cloud product adoption, usage, and spend data for seven million global businesses across 21,000 cloud offerings. Data are collected from over 150 global Internet points of presence, helping Intricately map digital infrastructure. Its insights are delivered via an API, integrations, data snapshots, and web applications.
“Intricately provides unique and actionable insights that enable cloud sellers to increase velocity by focusing on the highest potential opportunities,” said Pollack. “As the workforces of global companies become increasingly distributed, cloud spend and product adoption have become key indicators when assessing potential buyers’ likelihood of purchasing and deploying new products. Intricately’s intelligence, now part of HG Insights, is uniquely positioned to lead the market on this trend.”
Intricately’s customers include the top three cloud companies. In addition, the acquisition provides “real-time visibility into a company’s cloud footprint and application tech stack.”
“Now, with the addition of Intricately, we can provide real-time visibility into a company’s cloud footprint and application tech stack to provide richer insights for better decisions and faster results,” said HG Insights CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky. “Our customers have come to rely on HG Insights as an indispensable input into their most strategic decisions such as market sizing, whitespace analysis, and territory planning as well as for fundamental activities including opportunity prioritization and account-based marketing intelligence.”
HG Insights and Intricately offer complementary spend data. HG Insights focuses on projected spend for forecasting and go-to-market planning while Intricately measures actual spend for benchmarking and plan measurement. Combined, the companies offer “unmatched spend insights in the Cloud Market that support the full lifecycle of Plan, Optimize, and Execute to empower sales and marketing organizations.”
HG Insights listed a series of technical benefits:
Richer combined datasets to operationalize the planning, targeting, and messaging to prospects based on technology adoption and usage
Improved precision of workload volumes, estimated spends, and the related technologies running on cloud-based infrastructure
Expansion of insights into customer-built cloud and self-hosted applications
Detailed location insights providing a view into both the location of consumption and/or physical infrastructure to power hyper-focused Go-to-Market strategies
Real-time detection of changes to a company’s cloud application and technology strategy
“With this new intelligence in its offering, HG will provide game-changing insights that transform our customers’ Go-To-Market initiatives and accelerate growth,” HG Insights Product Marketing Director Darcy Moss told GZ Consulting. “Strategy, marketing, sales, and operations teams can leverage this insight to answer critical business decisions with greater confidence.”
“By adding Intricately’s market-leading workload and usage data, we’ll give our customers the most detailed, unique picture available of an account’s technology strategy; not just what they have, but why they have it, how they’re using it, and ultimately, what they’re likely to do next. It’s a competitive advantage unmatched in the market,” stated Moss.
Intricately was founded in 2014 and is based in San Francisco. LinkedIn states that it has 54 employees, having grown its headcount by 35% in the past year and 93% over the past two. However, its employment plateaued last November.
“At this time, we will be business as usual until the transition is completed,” stated Moss. “This includes retaining current office locations.”
HG Insights did not disclose any size or growth details. It also did not disclose the acquisition price. Intricately is HG Insights’ second acquisition. In 2018, the firm acquired Pivotal IQ, a curator of IT contract and spend intelligence.
D&B Hoovers, a global sales intelligence solution that has long been English-only, began a multi-phase process towards becoming a truly global, multi-lingual solution. Most sales intelligence vendors support only a single language, but European vendors Vainu and Echobot support multiple languages for their regional coverage. Last year, when Dun & Bradstreet bought Bisnode, a firm that serves Central Europe and the Nordics, it declared that it would be sunsetting Bisnode solutions. Internationalizing D&B Hoover’s then became a priority.
The D&B Hoovers’ UX already supports 17 languages:
Asian: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese
Adding international languages transforms D&B Hoovers from an Anglo-centric solution for multinationals and companies based in Anglophone countries to a localized version.
“In terms of personalization, we’re trying to switch this from being a US product that is sold globally to a fully local version of a global product,” explained International Product Development & Strategy VP Adam Leslie to GZ Consulting. D&B Hoovers needs to be a “local product” that supports sales reps selling to local customers, regardless of language. “Historically, it’s been a US product sold in the local market only where the local market user sells to the US and internationally. If the local market user only sells domestically, they haven’t bought Hoovers.”
D&B Hoovers greatly expanded its industry code standards, allowing users to filter companies by global taxonomies (e.g., ISIC), regional (e.g., NAICS, NACE 2.0, ANZ SIC), or national standards:
D&B Hoover’s also supports two proprietary taxonomies: Hoover’s industry codes and eight-digit SICs.
Country-specific industry code descriptions will be displayed in either English or the local language.
Along with expanded taxonomies, D&B Hoovers recently added website searching to identify companies based on their self-descriptions across one hundred languages. Website search has gathered 247 million rows of structured data across 30 million websites and 300 million web pages.
This feature helps identify companies with emerging technologies or positioning (i.e., the evolving three-letter acronyms that firms use for classifying themselves). The feature echoes its Conceptual Search, but instead of identifying companies based on topical references in news articles, it searches global corporate websites.
D&B Hoovers and its predecessor service, OneSource Global Business Browser (GBB), have supported English-speaking multinational teams for two decades. Their content and functionality have always been the deepest for the US, UK, and Canada. Yet, they also provided a robust set of international content:
Global Public (Quoted) Company Financials, Segment Reports, Executive Bios, and Long Business Descriptions.
Financial statements for 15 European countries and global publics. The reports may be viewed in USD, EUR, GBP, and the As Reported currency, with currency conversion rates based upon the period or statement date. Thus, revenue from a 2020 income statement (a flow statement) would be based upon the average conversion rate for the year, while assets from the balance sheet would be based upon the applicable rate for the statement date.
Global family trees
Industry Codes, including US SIC, NAICS, EU NACE, UK SIC, ANZ SIC, and UN ISIC.
Regional screening, including city, postal code, and sub-regions (e.g., state, province, county)
Regional customization for distances (KM vs. miles) and numeric formats
D&B Hoovers expanded its company coverage to 180 million active firms and 216 million active contacts as part of its internationalization. Most of the new firms have between one and five employees. It also increased the number of countries with sub-divisional regions (e.g., counties, provinces), having recently added sub-divisional filtering for the Nordic countries, Denmark, Hungary, etc. Additional countries are planned.
Several enhancements came from local customer research. In many European countries, departmental emails are employed in sales and marketing outreach. These emails lack any personally identifiable information, so they are GDPR compliant. Dun & Bradstreet is adding over seven million “entity-level emails” for European countries, including over three million entity-level emails for the D-A-CH region, 1½ million for the Nordics, and 2½ million for Eastern Europe.
Text searching was enhanced to recognize accents and diacritical marks (e.g., when performing location searches). Leslie called synonymous search with or without special characters a “major ticket to the game.” While it “sounds like a simple fix,” it was “extremely complex.”
As Dun & Bradstreet began its localization research, it realized the importance of small companies and informational depth in the context of national sales vs. international sales.
“We speak to local markets and say, ‘Well, what is it that will help you sell your products and use our products?’” explained Leslie. Dun & Bradstreet’s research found that many customers and prospects sell locally to organizations with five or fewer employees. “That becomes really important now that you can reach them.”
Leslie listed other findings and subsequent upgrades: “We capped the number of contacts at eleven. That’s been changed. We were missing the middle name. That has been changed.”
When I was a product marketing manager at OneSource (2001 – 2010), I explained that we delivered the top N companies in each European country because “you aren’t selling to Polish abattoirs.” That logic made sense when selling to multinationals and exporters based in English-speaking countries. After all, they weren’t selling to Polish slaughterhouses. But this approach fails to meet the needs of sales reps based in Poland, EU industrial manufacturers, or logistics companies.
Localization requires local language support, content depth, national standards support (e.g., industry codes, geographic districts, GDPR), in-language news and triggers (coming in phase II), market knowledge, and in-market sales and support. Dun & Bradstreet also simplified the UI and improved its dynamic display for various screen sizes and devices. The new UI was implemented in September, and 96% of browser users and 98% of CRM users have switched to the updated format.
In-product tutorials also enhance the user experience. For example, if a user utilizes a feature inefficiently or has not used core functionality, the tutorial will provide on-demand coaching. This feedback is also provided to account representatives to provide guidance. The in-product tutorials were launched last summer, and Dun & Bradstreet continues to collect data for honing its training recommendations.
There is also a new onboarding virtual assistant for providing on-demand training. Tutorial translations should be available to users in Q2. Expanded in-product training and virtual onboarding are consistent with the emerging Work from Anywhere expectation of business professionals.
Dun & Bradstreet provided its internationalization roadmap through the end of the year. The firm intends to extend local content, expand time-dependent sales triggers, and support multi-lingual news. New content includes more digitally sourced data, detailed financials, and country-specific datasets such as country export data for Chinese companies, product codes, and expanded tech data for India.
Ostensibly, Phase I, which completed at the end of March, serves as a minimal viable product for localized products (or what Leslie called a “ticket to the game”), and Phase II continues internationalizing the content and expanding localized content.
“We are working with each local market to collect these [data requirements], source the data, transfer to D&B, and load into the product,” said Leslie. Finally, D&B Hoovers will continue to expand its email and direct dial coverage.